Marathoners see 2 men removed before flight back to Chicago

Updated 4/16/2013 11:35 PM

Two men were removed from a plane carrying some Boston Marathon runners back to Chicago Tuesday morning after the men were acting suspiciously and it concerned other passengers.

Rich Siok Jr., 31, of Elk Grove Village, was on United Flight 636 scheduled to leave Boston's Logan Airport at around 6 a.m. when a police officer and another officer boarded the plane and escorted two men from their seats -- one seated in the same row as Siok and the other a few rows in front.

"At that point, people were kind of nervous," Siok said. "There were a lot of runners on the plane, myself included. There was a heightened sense of emotion."

About 15 minutes later -- after causing the flight's departure to be delayed -- the men returned to their seats and the plane prepared for flight.

But their behavior upon returning to the plane unnerved passengers, Siok said. They talked over several rows of passengers, and one of the men got up and went to the bathroom when they were supposed to be seated, he said.

As the plane taxied away from the gate and onto the runway, Siok watched both men looking intently out the windows at the other lines of planes. "That's when I pushed the call button," he said.

Siok told the stewardess he needed to use the restroom, walked to the back of the plane and then told the other flight attendants that he didn't feel comfortable with the situation.

"I said, 'Get me off this plane. I don't feel comfortable with these guys,'" Siok said. "The flight crew was happy I said that. They were very distressed after the men were taken off and then allowed to return."

The plane returned to the gate and law enforcement officers again removed the men.

A police sergeant with the Massachusetts State Police at Logan International Airport confirmed two men were taken from the plane, but gave no further details.

All passengers were asked to disembark and the plane was searched, Siok said. Passengers then boarded the plane again and made their way back to Chicago.

"I think the passengers, especially the runners were thankful. One girl was emotional. Everyone was in the same position, and they were happy that I made a move given that something suspicious seemed to be happening," he said. "Everyone felt more comfortable after that."

A different plane -- one from Philadelphia -- was also searched at Logan Tuesday after passengers heard a noise coming from carry-on luggage, police said.

Nothing came of either situation, police said.

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